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Attachment and mentalization and their association with child and adolescent eating pathology: A systematic review.

Jewell, T; Collyer, H; Gardner, T; Tchanturia, K; Simic, M; Fonagy, P; Eisler, I; (2016) Attachment and mentalization and their association with child and adolescent eating pathology: A systematic review. International Journal of Eating Disorders , 49 (4) pp. 354-373. 10.1002/eat.22473. Green open access

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Insecure attachment and mentalizing difficulties have been associated with eating pathology in adulthood. However, it is unclear whether eating pathology is associated with attachment or mentalization in children. The aim of this study is to systematically review the literature in this emerging field. METHOD: Electronic databases were used to search for articles. RESULTS: Twenty-two studies were identified. In the 15 studies investigating attachment, an association with eating pathology was found in all studies. Mentalizing difficulties and eating pathology were found to be correlated in the seven studies which examined their association. DISCUSSION: In keeping with the adult literature, cross-sectional studies of children and adolescents consistently report associations with eating pathology. There is some evidence from prospective studies that insecure attachment may be a risk factor for the development of eating pathology in adolescence. The literature on mentalization and eating pathology suggests that adolescents with anorexia nervosa may have difficulties in recognizing emotions. Further research using clinical samples and well-validated measures of attachment and mentalization are required to shed further light on this area.

Type: Article
Title: Attachment and mentalization and their association with child and adolescent eating pathology: A systematic review.
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1002/eat.22473
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/eat.22473
Language: English
Additional information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Jewell, T; Collyer, H; Gardner, T; Tchanturia, K; Simic, M; Fonagy, P; Eisler, I; (2016) Attachment and mentalization and their association with child and adolescent eating pathology: A systematic review. International Journal of Eating Disorders , 49 (4) pp. 354-373. 10.1002/eat.22473, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/eat.22473. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
Keywords: adolescents, attachment, children, eating pathology, mentalization
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1473657
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